When I asked Judith, my city tour guide, what was true chicago cuisine, her answer was “junk food.” Not surprising, since it is located in the midwest with the abundance of corn. And with all this corn, what can be more iconic to Chicago than Garrett’s?
The famous chicago mix. Oprah loves it. And if the goddess loves it, everyone should and must love it. So obviously, i had to give it a shot.
I was walking somewhere around the loop/downtown chicago. Just wandering. And suddenly I caught the small of something sweet and savory. I lift my nose into the air and determined it was the north wind bringing this fragrance. Like a dog, I followed the scent, getting more and more intoxicated by the second.
Finally I found myself at the entrance of Garrett. Walking in, a wave of fresh buttery sweetness filled my lungs. In front of me was a big round hollow machine, like a wheel, spinning round and round, coating the nice round puffed up popcorn.
I immediately ordered the Chicago mix. Sweet caramel popcorn and cheesy popcorn mix in a bag. The person fill the bag half of each, and then skillfully shaked the bag such that the popcorn will be mixed in the bag evenly.
Reading in for a handful and putting it into my mouth had to be one of the best experiences of my life. People who have been to the movies with me know how much of a popcorn monster I am. Not only do I eat alot of it, I create a damn mess in the process. I am absolutely in love with popcorn.
Each time i reach into the bag and pop it into my mouth, it was a surprise. Is it going to be the sweet buttery intense flavor caramel kettercorn which I LOVE LOVE LOVE, or is it going to be the cheesy greasy salty savory cheese popcorn that taste like solid small cheezels? Before you can get sick of the sweetness, you will find a nice salty cheesy one to neutralize your palet.
And the best part about it is that you can walk and admire the city as you munch on your bag full of popcorn. Who cares that your hands and mouths are getting covered with yucky yellow sticky looking yellow stuff. It is all about enjoying the moment. Just you, the popcorn and the city filled with amazing architecture.
This could be one of those moments I can never recapture. Like losing your virginity. It was everything I thought it would be.
And then after eating half the bag and my body starting to reject the amount of butter that was in the popcorn, I realize iconic to chicago also meant that there would be one in New York. And sure enough, Garrett is also located in Penn station New York. Maybe the next time I eat it, i will be creating a memory with the LIRR.